Mark Thompson (footballer)

Mark "Bomber" Thompson (born 19 November 1963) is a retired Australian rules footballer and former senior coach. He played 202 games for the Essendon Football Club from 1983 to 1996, captaining the side from 1992 until 1995. After retiring, he was an assistant coach at Essendon and then at North Melbourne before becoming the senior coach of the Geelong Football Club from 2000 to 2010 and coaching them to two premierships. In November 2010, Thompson returned to Essendon as a senior assistant coach and was then appointed the senior coach for the 2014 season.[1][2] He left the club at the end of 2014. On 2 May 2018, he was charged with seven counts of drug trafficking and possession. He was released on $20,000 bail to appear in court at a later date.[3] He was later cleared of trafficking but convicted of possession.[4]

Mark Thompson
Personal information
Full name Mark Thompson
Nickname(s) Bomber
Date of birth (1963-11-19) 19 November 1963
Place of birth Melbourne, Victoria
Original team(s) Airport West (EDFL)
Height 177 cm (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 87 kg (192 lb)
Position(s) Defender
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1983–1996 Essendon 202 (50)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
1986 Victoria 1 (0)
Coaching career
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
2000–2010 Geelong 260 (161–96–3)
2014 Essendon 023 (12–10–1)
Total 283 (173–106–4)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1996.
2 State and international statistics correct as of 2014.
Career highlights



Sources: AFL Tables,

Playing career

Thompson played most of his football in the backline, gaining a reputation as a fierce competitor. He won the club award for "most determined player" in 1984 and 1986, "Most Improved Player" and "Best Clubman" in 1985, and best-and-fairest awards in 1987 and 1990. He also finished in the top five in the best-and-fairest on four other occasions. Thompson played in the 1984 and 1985 premiership sides and captained the 1993 premiership team. In 2002, Thompson's contribution to the club was recognised when he was voted the 20th best Essendon player of all time in the "Champions of Essendon" list.

Coaching career

Geelong (2000–2010)

As Geelong coach, Thompson was given an extended time to rebuild the club's playing list. The side finished 5th in 2000 as his first season as coach but was bundled out by 8th placed Hawthorn in the first week of the finals in the first finals match ever held at the Docklands Stadium. The club performed poorly for the next three seasons, missing the top 8. Thompson's position looked in danger, but in 2004 the side was a big improver, finishing fourth and making the Preliminary Finals. Due to his success in reinvigorating the club, Thompson's contract was extended until 2007. The following year (2005) the club finished sixth and was beaten in the Semi-Finals by 3 points against the eventual premiers Sydney after leading for the majority of the match.

In 2006, however, the side eventually missed the finals after winning the NAB Cup and winning their first two matches in convincing style, leading them into flag favouritism. It was also a season where Thompson had used the 2005 semi-final loss to the Swans as motivation.[5] Following a Round 22 61 point demolition at the hands of lower-placed Hawthorn, Thompson's job was under immense pressure.[6]

After a very public review of the club, it was decided that Thompson should keep his job as coach. After a shaky start to the 2007 season that led many supporters to believe that nothing had changed from the 2006 season Thompson led his team to a massive 15 match winning streak (the biggest in a single season in club history) and a 106-point win against the Kangaroos in the Qualifying Final which is the 5th biggest finals winning margin in AFL/VFL history.

2007 then culminated in one of the biggest, if not the best highlight of Thompson's career, in both a coaching and footballer's role. Thompson coached Geelong to win the AFL premiership by more than 100 points – the highest winning margin in Grand Final history, against Port Adelaide Football Club at the MCG on 29 September. It was the club's first premiership since 1963, the year of Thompson's birth.

After the Essendon Football Club decided not to give Thompson's former mentor, Kevin Sheedy, a renewal of contract, there was speculation that Mark Thompson would take up the senior coaching role at Essendon for the 2008 season. However, with trade week quickly approaching, the club instead appointed Matthew Knights to the position.

After their record-breaking win in the grand final, Thompson's Cats were red hot favourite to repeat their 2007 success and their form during the year did nothing to change that. The Cats went 21–1 to claim the McClelland Trophy four games ahead of their nearest challenger, Hawthorn. After relatively easy wins against St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs in the finals, Geelong were into their second straight grand final, this time against Hawthorn, and were again hot favourites. In an upset, though, the Hawks beat Geelong by 26 points in front of 100,012 fans.

During an end-of-season holiday to New York that year, Thompson ran into Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy whilst inside a hotel. They were said to have drowned their sorrows following their respective Grand Final losses (Bellamy's Melbourne Storm lost the 2008 NRL Grand Final to Manly).[7]

In 2009 following a heartbreaking loss to Hawthorn in the 2008 Premiership decider, Geelong compiled an 18–4 record during the minor round and disposed of the Western Bulldogs and then Collingwood during the finals series. On 26 September, his Cats faced a St Kilda side determined to break its 43-year Premiership drought. In front of 99,251 fans on a rain-soaked MCG deck, the Cats clawed their way back after trailing at every break to win by 12 points. This would be Geelong's second flag in three years cementing their place as one of the great teams of the modern era. Thompson as always was magnanimous in victory and accepted the AFL Premiership trophy alongside Geelong legend Bob Davis.

After Geelong were eliminated from the preliminary finals to Collingwood, at the conclusion of the 2010 season, on 4 October 2010, Thompson announced his retirement and resignation as Geelong coach effective immediately, his reason being that he was "tired of coaching" after a decade at the helm.[8]

Essendon (2010–2014)

On 10 November 2010, Thompson signed a lucrative contract to be the senior assistant coach of Essendon, putting an end to weeks of speculation following his resignation from Geelong.[2][9] According to football writer and commentator Caroline Wilson's sources his contract was said to be worth $650,000 per year.[10] He was appointed the senior coach for the 2014 season while James Hird served his suspension,[1] and left the club after Hird returned as senior coach at the end of that year.

2013 supplements controversy

Following months of rumours and investigations, on 13 August 2013, Thompson, along with the Essendon Football Club, senior coach James Hird, football manager Danny Corcoran and club doctor Bruce Reid, were charged by the AFL with bringing the game into disrepute in relation to the supplements program at the club in 2011 and 2012. The club was given 14 days to consider the charges and faced an AFL Commission hearing on 26 August 2013.[11][12] On 27 August 2013, Thompson was fined $30,000 for his role in the supplements saga.[13]


Playing statistics

 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Season Team No. Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
1983 Essendon 262102210323N/A0.
1984 Essendon 26204320314334660N/A0.
1985 Essendon 26235526118844971N/A0.
1986 Essendon 26222324719243993N/A0.
1987 Essendon 261816921713134875320.90.512.17.319.34.21.8
1988 Essendon 260
1989 Essendon 2610011347621040100.
1990 Essendon 262478321198519114280.30.313.48.321.64.81.2
1991 Essendon 26963106581643590.70.311.86.418.23.91.0
1992 Essendon 26215230016946981220.
1993 Essendon 26212033018051091250.
1994 Essendon 2613111408422451190.
1995 Essendon 261102996516432100.
1996 Essendon 26811844212637120.
Career 202 50 38 2464 1536 4000 783 167 0.2 0.2 12.2 7.6 19.8 3.9 1.2

Coaching statistics

 W  Wins  L  Losses  D  Draws  W%  Winning percentage  LP  Ladder position  LT  League teams
Season Team Games W L D W % LP LT
2000 Geelong 231210154.3%516
2001 Geelong 22913040.9%1216
2002 Geelong 221111050.0%916
2003 Geelong 22714134.1%1216
2004 Geelong 25169064.0%416
2005 Geelong 241311054.2%516
2006 Geelong 221011147.7%1016
2007 Geelong 25214084.0%116
2008 Geelong 25232092.0%116
2009 Geelong 25214084.0%216
2010 Geelong 25187072.0%216
2014 Essendon 231210154.3%718
Career totals 283 173 106 4 61.8%

Honours and achievements

Brownlow Medal votes
Season Votes
1983 0
1984 0
1985 1
1986 6
1987 4
1988 0
1989 3
1990 3
1991 0
1992 1
1993 5
1994 0
1995 0
1996 0
Total 23

Playing honours



Coaching honours




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